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“A few small gripes...but overall very good”
Review of Hilltop Bistro

Hilltop Bistro
Ranked #2 of 330 Restaurants in Nanaimo
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $23
Cuisines: Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Nelson street
Reviewed November 8, 2012

My wife and I dined here last night and both had the full 3 course dinners with wine pairings. Call me a bit picky, but I deduct a merit point for having paper napkins...an establishment of this caliber should have cloth IMHO. My wife had a delicious fish entree that was prepared just right....she thought the deep fried mashed potatoes didn't suit the meal however...some new baby roasted one's would have been more appropriate. The only major complaint is that the waitress asked us more than once if we "were still working on" our plates!...This should be the one cardinal phrase that should be omitted from any good server's vocabulary and other than that, she was a knowledgable and efficient server. I had a lamb entree that was also very good.

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1  Thank fullguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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181 - 185 of 198 reviews

Reviewed November 2, 2012

I had heard some very favourable comments about the Hilltop Bistro. My wife, son and I reserved a table for Friday night and arrived to a full house. We were promptly seated and shortly thereafter were attended to by a very warm and knowledgeable server. We each decided to try the prix fixe meal. This three course feature allows you to choose any item from the starter, mains and dessert portions of the menu.
We each ordered different items for our starters, these being the calamari, smoked halibut brandade and my choice, Qualicum scallops. All food was hot, beautifully presented and abounding in flavour. The calamari was succulent, not greasy at all and accompanied by a tasty combination of yogurt, pea greens and fried chilli. The halibut was lightly smoked, moist, flavourful and accompanied by tobiko, among other enhancements. When we asked our attentive server what tobiko was, she immediately explained what it was. The scallops were grilled perfectly, retaining moisture and flavour and when dipped into the mustard, bacon, chard and lentils they were absolutely delicious.
My son and I both had the lamb sirloin for our main. This was presented sliced, delicately sauced with an olive and orange syrup and accompanied by couscous and crispy kale. Again, when wondering how you make kale with such delicate flavour and texture, our server came to the rescue, telling us how you prepare kale in such a unique way. My wife had beef sirloin and although she is not a huge meat lover, this dish was consumed with gusto.
We each ordered different desserts, so we could each have a taste. I chose the chocolate terrain for dessert which was very rich, strong dark chocolate. We also shared the goat cheese cheesecake, perhaps the favourite. Again, as at the start of this dining experience, the ending was no less remarkable. In our collective opinion, the prix fixe approach was extremely good value for such well presented and extremely delicious food.
The atmosphere was cozy, intimate but not crowded. The wood topped tables were appropriate for the overall scheme of the restaurant and the dinnerware and utensils, spotless, modern and functional.
We were all pleased with our evening spent there and wish Ryan and his staff great success! We are fans!!

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7  Thank rixontherun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2012

We love dining out and heard the Hilltop Bistro was excellent so we went for dinner with another couple for the 1st time this week. I started with the houmus & homemade pita and it was very good. Then I tried the halibut which was also good, but too salty for my taste. During dinner, my husband and the other couple also commented that their meals were good, but salty. We all had different entrees, so it wasn't just the halibut that was too salty. Inside the bistro is lovely with a beautiful maple bar and lots of wood, unfortunately, with a full restaurant that night it also makes it very loud and hard to talk. The owner may want to look into ceiling baffles or something to help absorb sound. Our server was pleasant and attentive, but kept passing appetizer and dinner plates over in front of us to the other couple when there was plenty of room to approach the table from the side and pass the plates between us (as a result her clothes were almost dragging across my dinner plate). Overall, it was good, but not great.

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7  Thank Roning50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2012

My husband and I both tried the pre fix 3 course dinner with wine pairings. We were both awed by the food. Extremely tasty food, perfectly cooked and seasoned. I had the diver scallops for an appie and the halibut for the main. Truly the best fish dish I've ever had! I chose the chocolate terrain for dessert which was very rich and tasty but my husband won the dessert course ordering the goat cheese cheesecake! Wow! Will definitely be back!

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5  Thank Nunu72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2012

After years of being disappointed with the lack of unique and tasty restaurants in Nanaimo, we stumbled upon the Hilltop Bistro. We were struggling to find a place to go for our anniversary and when someone suggested the Hilltop, I was hesitant. I am so happy we went!!! Small intimate atmosphere, well trained attentive staff and one of my favorite dining experiences in years. We both did the prix fixe with wine pairings. Food was fabulously presented, like works of art and the flavors with fresh and unique. Cannot wait to go back!

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3  Thank Erin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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